Skip to main content

I have sold a few odds and ends to individuals in Canada. USPS and CPS (?) were slow but reliable.

My problem started with a small shipment to a forum member through Fed Ex. Apparently Fed Ex uses a third party for Canadian deliveries. A duty was due on the package and not collected at the time of delivery. Fed Ex has made several attempts to collect the duty and been ignored by the recipient. Now Fed Ex is expecting me to pay the duty.

The fact is that the recipient should do the correct thing and just pay the duty. But how can this be my responsibility? Is this normal? If so I just will have to exclude sales to Canada. It just is not worth the hassle.

Last edited {1}
Original Post
Clearly your customer should have taken care of this and not made it your problem.

I am not aware of 3rd parties for FedEx. They have their own offices throughout Canada. I also find them the best of them all - UPS, DHL and all the "priority" post services.

FedEx never loses anything and it's all so easily handled online. You enter your order online and then it is picked up and tracked online by anyone you list at the time of entering the order. It eliminates all the hassles and phone calls.

After many years of ordering parts to Canada from the US and either getting hit with extra duties or late arrivals I discovered the solution.

See doc enclosed. Every time I order something I email this doc to the vendor or shipper. If it is completed by the shipper and attached to the outside of the package it advises customs that the item meets NAFTA requirements and no duties are due.

This eliminates fees and speeds up the process. I get packages from CA vendors that arrive THE NEXT DAY with no special charges. Although this is not necessarily the answer for large heavy packages with value over $1600.

Hope this helps.


Just to clarify, Some of the carriers hire private contractors to deliver to remote areas. In Quebec; Gaspesie, North Shore, Chicoutimi, Abitibi. So I can safely assume the same for the rest of Canada
Back when I was with the Company I remember a package took an extra week to be delivered because the private broker did not have enough to to the extra distance. Also as stated in an earlier thread I received a FedEx package and the duty invoice was mailed to me 45 days after the actual delivery.

ps May I be bold enough to ask if the destination to which you shipped your item was a Metro area or smaller town?
Count me in also have been trying to get buyer in canada to step up and take care of this but all i get are my emails ignored or finally answered with an answer" i'll take care of it "
Can't wait til my visa bill comes in as the charge will be on card as fed ex has threatned.Then i will post the name as he is restoring a FLARED car and still buying parts.Til then beware selling and shipping direct to canada.
Just a note this transaction took place in sept the guy is a major JERK!!
The shipping declaration was marked “antique auto parts”. I do not recall any thing specific to age on the form and the clerk at Fed Ex did not ask.

These parts were OEM door handles and lock housings. I will mention this to the next Fed Ex person I speak to.

The items I have sold have minimal value. I just list them because no matter what the part someone usually needs them. Sort of a virtual “Parts Meet” for those of us not located in California.

But this is not worth the time and hassle I have spent with Fed Ex. I have been dealing with this since September.
Originally posted by LF - TP 2511:
I'm sure one of our Northern members can add the details to this, but I know there is an age limit on duties for old car parts.

Meet the age limit - that is, old enough - and no import duties.

I know this will work on any parts original to our Ford-era Panteras.

Exact dates?


The rules in Canada are that any vehicle 25 years old or more AND THE PARTS USED EXCLUSIVELY FOR THOSE VEHICLES are duty free. The problem is that MOST Customs officials either don't know the rules, or just try to screw you out of extra money for sport. I'm not sure which.

I have the relevant section in my BlackBerry and show it every time I bring parts in (myself). It is: Chapter 99, Section 9966.00.00.

Here's the Pertinent section of 9966.00.00
See Articles 4 & 5 which talk to parts (original or repro.)

If for some reason what you shipped isn't over 25 years old or designed for a vehicle that is over 25, then duties could be due. As a Canadian who buys things out of the U.S. on occasion, I'm disappointed that someone on this side of the border would leave you hanging like that. There needs to be trust on both sides of the border, and if someone here is betraying that, it impacts us all.

Keep in mind that one possibility is that the carrier doesn't want to go through the paperwork to clear things up with the Customs folks, so they're going after you and the recipient as that can be easier for them (esp. if they have a credit card on file) - that happened to me once when I bought a product here in Canada and the store was out of stock on one of the components ... they shipped it to me from the U.S. and I got hit with a bill for $70 for duties all because of how the shipping label was filled out.
Jeff, LaBoss if our Canadian friend(s) are not up to paying their part of duties I apologise on their behalf. Beleive me we are not all cut from the same cloth. At the same time others who might have future transactions with these guys need to be warned. eBay has its feedback system. POST THEIR NAMES SO WE KNOW WHO THEY ARE. I went thru similar bulls**t when I did some retoration work on a cat. It took me almost 2 months to get paid.
Today I received a call from FedEx Canada. I had to start from the beginning and explain my situation. The agent stated that any invoice issue with a shipment originating from the US had to be resolve by Fed Ex in the US.

At this point I lost my patience and informed her that as far as I was concerned I was done with trying to cooperate with them. It is not my problem that the third party agent did not collect the fees due at delivery. I am not a friggin Canadian customs / tax agent.
I closed by stating that I have used FedEx as my primary shipper for my business needs for over 10 years and I would change shippers if I received another letter or phone call from them.

My Canadian Pantera friends, your advice and suggestions are appreciated. In the future if I chose to sell to Canada I will have to clarify with the buyer about potential fees they may incur. I do believe that 99% of Canadians handle these situations the right way. The majority of Americans who are not US businesses are probably not aware of how to handle the special requirements of shipping outside the US. This is a learning experience for me. I have purchased parts from Canadians on this forum and the experiences were hassle free and a pleasure to work with. This is the primary reason I want to reciprocate and ship items north.

Last, I had planned not to reveal the forum user’s name to not embarrass him. The amount due is a paltry $33.75. If a US forum member is considering selling to a Canadian please send me a PM and I will let them know if their buyer is my party.

This is a great forum and I appreciate all of my world wide Pantera brethren.

I believe a person's name and reputation should be valued highly. The amount is not important here ... it is the unfortunate aura created, that may cause some of us to think twice.

I am sorry to hear that you had so much trouble shipping to Canada. It truly saddens me to think that it may taint the reputation of shipping to/from Canada.

Personally, I make every effort to ensure my transactions to, or from, the U.S. are hassle free. To date, I have not had any problems either way. I usually ship by USPostal/CanadaPost or Yellow freight when going across the boarder. I have always had great service. Alternatively, I make arrangments to ship or receive in the U.S.

It is my wish that this be considered an isolated case that can occur anywhere. Further, I hope that this will in no way reflect on the good relationship we have with our fellow U.S. DeTomaso buddies.

Sheesh! Why are Canadians so freakin' sensitive. Or is it insecure?

There are a million things wrong with America - and just crossing into the US is major security hassle we all go thru every time we go to an airport or wait in line at highway borders.

But we certainly don't hold it against our US brothers here on the PIBB! And I'm sure that neither do they because of some lame guy who decides to stiff a vendor rather than pay three times the cost of the part in fees. Understandable, but still lame.

And I never heard of FedEx "Canada." You would only deal with the office who picked up your package in the first place.
but being overly sensitive is what makes us Canadian isn't it?

John Stewart showed a clip recently where a fellow was heckling the Prime Minister and called him 'Sir' as part of his tirade. In other nations, hecklers are more likely to throw articles of personal attire, a shoe perhaps.

What surprises me in this whole situation is that the courier company delivered without collecting the duties - anytime I've received things with duties, they don't even take the parcel off the truck until they've swiped the credit card.

Anyway, David, thank you for the NAFTA document, I'm know I'll get good use out of that in the future as well as our dear friend 9966.00.00 when bringing in items manufactured in Italy/Germany/England etc. for the cat.

In true Canadian style, I've re-read my post 3 times to make sure I haven't said anything that might conceivably offend someone - I think I'm good (although I think it's a bit of a risk starting my first sentence with the word 'but' and not capitalizing it at that ... a tad outside my comfort zone I admit), however if anyone takes exception, please let me know and I'll edit it right away.
There are a million things wrong with America - and just crossing into the US is major security hassle we all go thru every time we go to an airport or wait in line at highway borders.

Sorry for the hassle.

But be very careful here David.

I am a very sensitive American.

And I will NEVER FORGET 9-11.

It could be Toronto next time

You as the buyer make a decision on your own to buy or not buy an item with fees exceeding the cost of the item. This is not the responsibilty or problem of the seller.

It is your choice.
Last edited by pantera4134
No offense intended and please do not read any anti-American sentiment in my comments. My reference was to those Canadians who seemed to think that one dumb-ass Canadian customer or weak FedEx performance is somehow a poor reflection on "all" Canadians. Just as it wouldn’t be a poor reflection on "all" Americans if the situation was reversed.

As for the < millions of things wrong in America > it is a condition of any modern democracy. Ours included. We share the best and the worst of everything.

We also shared in the tragedy of 9/11. It was an attack on all of our freedoms. Just minutes north of the US border, we are America’s biggest trading partner and most ardent supporters. Our Canadian troops continue to make great sacrifices in our combined war on terror. Few are aware how many Canadian soldiers are dying every day in Afghanistan.

Yes, the buyer is totally responsible for the choices they make. I suffered such fees but paid for my own mistakes. It is not the shippers fault. I thought I was clear on that. I have also sent PMs to others who posted here, offering to help get them back any money lost with any Canadian Pantera owner who did not do what they were supposed to do.
Sometimes it works out fine.
I recently responded to a craiglist add for pantera wheels and tires from Michigan. Seller ansered back. I never haggled on his price, but did ask for a shipping cost. We agreed on the total cost and then the hassle started. I explained that I was not really comfortable sending a guaranteed payment for goods I had not received or even seen,and I assumed he was not comfortable sending me an expensive set of wheels without getting paid first. Pretty reasonable for both of us. We e-mailed back and forth for almost two weeks trying to work this out. UPS will not ship COD from the US to Canada, so that was not an option. It was a lot of hassle for both of us, probably more so for the seller than me. After all the e-mails, I think we just got a sense about the other. We never actually agreed to it, but he ended up shipping the wheels and tires before my money arrived and I ended up sending the money without any holds before the wheels arrived. I guess we just decided to trust the other. A little trust and faith in your common man can go a long way.
My money arrived in his bank the day before the wheels arrived at my door. Exactly as he had describe them. No surprises.

Unfortunately, it obviously doesn't work out this well every time, but hopefully almost every time.

Keep the faith. I think it is important for all of us on both sides to be able to buy and sell across the border without the fear of being ripped off.

Doug M
Originally posted by INZOWHO:
Oh ya, The wheels were described as "used wheels for a 1973 pantera" and arrived NO tax, NO duty, NO broker fees. The driver just unloaded them into my garage. I asked, and the driver said nothing was owing.
Now, if UPS comes back to me in 2 or 3 months to collect duty, I will tell them to kiss my ass.
Doug M

Better get ready to pucker up Doug. Revenue Canada rarely misses an opportunity to collect taxes, so I think you should prepare for an invoice from UPS. They will charge what Customs tells them and leave you to argue with them later. And they will probably include a hefty fee for their services — especially if it was shipped via. ground.

These situations are exactly why I ship to the northern USA, pick things up there and import them myself. Of course, I then get to enjoy the inside of a concrete room while they tear apart my car looking for proof that I'm doing something wrong. I still have to pay all the taxes (which really pisses me off because there are no taxes on private sale of used merchandise between individuals here), but at least I get to challenge their knowledge of their own rules when they try to charge me duty.

Another thing about this whole cross-border shipping is that EVERY time I (when shipping products from my company into the US) have requested a full and final total quotation of ALL costs from both FedEx AND UPS, I have been given the wrong information and charged more in the end. You just can't win.

O.K. I should clarify things a little.

If the situation gets out of hand and UPS threatens to charge the sellar, I WILL step up and pay the invoice. Clearly, as the purchaser and the Canadian, it is my responsibilty to deal with my governments taxes and duty!!

Every other UPS shipped order I have received from the US arrived with duty and taxes COD and I had to pay these before I received the goods. How is it that UPS can come back at some future date and invoice you for charges you should have been made aware of at the time of delivery? What do I do if UPS decides to invoice me $2000 for broker fees? It's too late to send the goods back.

Interestingly, when goods are sent USPS/Can post I never have to deal with any of this stuff, which is why I have begged the vendors to mail things instead of UPS.

If I was closer to the border I would go pick up stuff myself, but it's a 10 hour round trip for me to Great Falls, Montana.

When I researched before buying the car, I never even considered parts supply. I figured, you pick up the phone, pay the currency exchange difference, and that's that. Boy, did I get educated in a hurry! I've been puckered up for a couple years now. Frowner

Bottom line: If I get invoiced, I will pay it and fight it out later. It is certainly not the American seller's responsibilty that my government and the shipping companies want to bend me over the hood of the car at every opportunity.

Doug M
Last edited by dougm
I've shipped a number of the DT signs, plus other items up to Canada and always use USPS for the same reason. I haven't heard of any cross border charges with USPS, so how come you have to quote all these antique parts/25 yr rules and regulatiosn when using UPS or FedEx and there's not a blink of the eyelid with USPS?
Stuff that arrives by mail USUALLY get charged (due at the door when mailman delivers) along with a flat $5 admin fee. Duty can be charged as well via mail, but usually they assume the stuff is made in America and thus duty free (unless someone stupidly declares "Italian Car Parts").
I want to let everyone know that my situation has been resolved.I want to thank everyone that offered to help,if you did help an extra thank you.I think something was taught to people buying and selling across the border that you can't take things for granted.This is really a great community and forum.
Thanks again and good night to all.

I believe gifts are duty free up to $60, after that you get hit.

So, that's when you fall back to either slapping on the NAFTA paperwork, or, if it isn't eligible under NAFTA, then you go with 9966.00.00 for anything designed/intended for a 25yr+ vehicle.

And, as folks seem to agree, the buyer needs to bear the responsibility for all of the fees/duties and for dealing with the shipping company and/or gov't if there's an issue -> this is a general statement, if the seller was given clear instructions, but makes some significant error, then buyer and seller will obviously need to come to terms and both act in good faith - I believe 99.9% of the time, it works, and it's the basis of the trust we need for everything to work.
USPS is the way to go. I actually find it faster than any of the courier services. The couriers hold the shipment at the border until they can get a hold of me to agree to their (exhorbitant) customs brokerage fees. No such hassle or costs with the postal service.

Some of the vendors, however, will refuse to ship via USPS.
As someone who has shipped many items to and from Canada I find it interesting that Fed Ex would release any item with money owing. As was stated previously, vehicles over 15 years old? or 25, whatever, are duty exempt but subject to provincial (PST, varies province to province, 6-8%) and Goods $ Services (GST 5%) taxes. The recipient usually must pay for any brokerage fees and taxes upon delivery unless he/she decides to clear the item with canada Customs personally; then they must go to the shipping company (Fed Ex, in this case) and take the paperwork to Canada Customs to clear it and pay the taxes; the completed paperwork is faxed back to the Fed Ex and the item is then released. If money is owing, the recipient should pay up as it isn't the seller's responsibly. Most of us are honest up here so don't get jaded by a few bad apples. Thanks, Colin in Winnipeg.
Well, I had not had any correspondence from FedEx for quite some time. I foolishly thought that FedEx dropped the issue or the party in Canada finally paid up.

Today in the mail another hate bill for past due customs fees. I promised myself that I would not disclose the Canadian member’s name if he would just handle this matter.

But now that I have to continue to waste my time arguing with Fed Ex it is also time to announce this individual’s name. Hopefully no other member of this forum will have to deal with him. His name is Carmen and he lives in Montréal.
His e-mail address is: I should note that I have sent at least 3 e-mails to him directly which were never answered.

Maybe someone who is an acquaintance of Carmen’s can shame him to doing the right thing, being an adult and paying the bill.

Frustrated, aggravated and POed in Atlanta
I have to say .. I have shipped to the Canadian Guys and never had and issue ..I have also shipped large packages to canada and Europe and also never had an issue. I;m very sorry to say ..never used FEDEX ..they are EFFICENT LOONATICS ... I use USPS all the time. I just had a set of seats shipped from Michagan and thye arrived very quick to Post Man was pissed he had to carry them to the porch.

My personal opinion in the DUTY or TAX is the end users responsibilty .. I could be wrong but I thought that was the unwritten rule ??

Jeff. When you buy something, the seller will calculate the shipping cost to your address. This is your resposibility. You can negotiate which company the seller will use to ship your item.
What you are being billed for is brokerage fees and/or duties. How can the seller be responsible for this??
I have received some items with a $0 charge and other items with a $200 charge. The charges are based on a number of factors ranging from the shipper that is used and the value of the parcel. Again, I have had a hundred packages sent to me over the years. The seller never pays for the shipping, nor the associated charges.
You can have your parts shipped without brokerage fee if you have them shipped "air". This is usually 3 times the money of regular shipments. You pay at the beginning or at the end. Either way, the BUYER pays the costs.
Well, I've stuck my neck into this one before, so here I go again. In the last few months I have had 4 separate orders come in from the U.S.
1. Full set of 17" campi replicas with tires mounted. Shipped UPS ground.
Duty = $0.00, Tax = $0.00, Broker fees = $0.00
2. Electronic stuff. Shipped UPS ground
Duty = $0.00, Tax = $9.29, Broker fees = $39.10+tax Total COD $50.34
3. Steering wheel hub from a California vendor. Shipped UPS ground.
Duty = $0.00, Tax = $0.00, Broker fees = $0.00 (this invoice was labeled, replacement for damaged parts,
no charge)
4. Headlight conversion kit. Shipped USPS/Canada post.
Duty = $0.00, Tax = $32.50, flat transaction fee = $5.00 Total COD $37.50

Obviously NAFTA is working, as no duty was owed on any of it.
This is the first time I have ever been charged tax on a mailed parcel. So I have to retract my statement that I have never been charged any of this when goods are mailed.
Broker fees and tax seems to be a crap shoot with no rhyme nor reason. Broker fees have no relation to the value of the goods.

I just assume that these charges will be added and collected COD on every delivery. If I get one with no charges, bonus, I got away with one. All charges were COD and I could not recieve the goods until they were paid! I still do not agree with the idea that I can be charged after the delivery has been made. This has not happened to me YET.

I paid all these fees and taxes. I fully agree that shipping charges and all related duties and taxes are the responsibilty of the buyer.

With the exchange rate what it is right now, coupled with shipping costs and charges, I won't be purchasing anything out of the U.S. that is not directly related to keeping the car in running order.
There is lots more I would like to do to the car but it will have to wait until better times.

Doug M
I had 2 Canadian members contact Carmen/Carmelo about this invoice. He told them he would take care of it. This was a month ago and he still has not paid it. He was described as "not good with e-mails". Well, he was able to use e-mail when he purchased the parts.

Do I sound pissed? Yes. And now to get the FedEx police off my back I am paying the bill. I suggest to anyone shipping north to clearly identify any potential customs fees up front with the purchaser before shipment.

Not a reflection on the many great Canadian Pantera owners. It would just be prudent and protect both parties.
It is true there are no brokerage fees charge by UPS for air shipments, but getting away without brokerage fees for land shipment of wheels is a rare occurance! UPS will explain their fees to you and it isn't pretty. So, if you pay COD, above the cost of the item, you will pay Provincial (6-7%) and Goods & Services taxes (5%) on most items, and brokerage fees as follows:
$20.01-40.00 = $17.96;
$40.01-100.00 = $31.03;
$100.01-200.00 = $41.66;
$200.01-350.00 = $54.18;
$350.01-500.00 = $59.53;
$500.01-750.00 = $66.25;
$750.01-1000.00 = $72.87;
$1000.01-1250.00 = $79.54;
$1250.01-1600.00 = $83.89;
$1601.00-5000.00 = $87.88;
for every $1000 or fraction above $5000 add another $5.70. I was told this today, but if you prepay by credit card there may be some discount. UPS used to charge a fee for missed deliveries when they would place a sticker on your door, but say that is not done now! I seem to recall complaining about the brokerage on smaller valued items as it sometimes doubled the cost when shipping was included, so I have always tried to clear the items myself at Customs to eliminate the brokerage. But many times UPS has tried to tell me, and will tell you, it can't be done! YES, IT CAN! You need to get their tracking number ASAP and inform the receiving UPS depot (Canadian side) that you wish to clear the item yourself. When it arrives it will be held at the depot, you go there and get the Customs paperwork, take it to Canada Customs where they will charge any duties and the appropriate taxes, stamp the paperwork and FAX back to UPS that the item is cleared for release. You go back to UPS, sign and pick up your item. It can be a hassle if you, the UPS Depot, and the Canada Customs office are not close together, and your time, gas etc.
Don't use UPS! They are crooks.
I just had a billet fuel filler sent to me from Quella. For some reason ( the way they filled out the forms) they were charged $88USD after the shipment was sent ($300 value).
$500 CND for a fuel filler. What a bargain.
Hall and Quella have both agreed to use USPS for future Canadian shipments
For general perfomance parts at great prices and NO DUTY/BROKERAGE AND FREE SHIPPING go to
Last edited by 4nhotrod
All good suggestions. Discuss shipping etc. with your seller BEFORE your purchase.

However, the point of this original thread is that the BUYER not the SELLER assumes responsibility for fees and duties. If you do not like the fees take it up with your government. To stick the seller with paying YOUR fees is not correct.

Carmen/Carmelo of Interpropane was going to reimburse me for the fees I ultimately ended up paying. Guess if he ever did? No. Just a cheap jerk that makes selling to Canada not worth the hassle.

Four years later and things haven't improved much !
I ordered a part (front urethane bumper for a toyota) from a vendor in California.

As soon as I got a shipping number, I contacted UPS in Calgary and told them to notify me when the parcel arrived so I could broker it into Canada myself.

They did. UPS faxed me the document I would need for Canada customs. That afternoon I went to customs and paid the taxes and broker fees (about 1/4 of what UPS charges for this service) for my parcel. Got the release papers from customs. Faxed these to UPS first thing next morning and arranged delivery for that afternoon. Truck arrives on schedule, unloads parcel, nothing owing, all fees paid.

So far, so good, I'm thinking.

Not so. Six weeks later I get an invoice in the mail from UPS for $76.00 to cover brokerage fees and storage.

I contact UPS and I'm directed to the disputed invoice department. Sent them an e-mail explaining my situation and asking for some clarification on charges, as I brokered the parcel myself. I never flat out refused to pay, I just wanted clarification on how I was being charged broker fees on something I brokered myself. NEVER got a reply. Sent new e-mail a week later. NO reply. O.k. fine, I forget about the whole thing.

A month later, I get a final notice invoice in the mail for, you guessed it, $76.00. At this point, I just file it away in the fu section.

Now, the situation arises, is UPS chasing after the vendor for this money? If they are, I have no idea. This is a fair sized after market body kit supplier in the U.S. and I'm sure they would deal with it.


If this scenario cropped up during a transaction between two individuals, I could see how it would make for a very uncomfortable situation.

Just my 2cents. Rant over.

Doug M
Doug, because of the nonsense that occurs at the border on most ANY shipment, quite a few Canadians maintain a mailing address of some sort on the U.S side. I'm told its worth the drive just to avoid the hassle. The money is not very significant compared to the paperwork, officials on both sides with a Napoleon complex, etc. Just a suggestion.
So resurrecting an Oldie here, but if I was to buy a high dollar (say $4k USD) used car part from a Canadian seller for shipment from Canada to USA, and the part was older than 25 years, and originally manufactured in the USA, and it would ship Canada Post, what fees would be due?

As I understand it, NAFTA would exempt it from duty, but would brokerage fees and tax could still apply. If so would they be fixed charges or based upon value? What documentation would need to accompany the shipment?

Any difference if the transaction were from USA to Canada?


The details regarding shipping of parts from Canada into the US is probably not best answered in the Canadian forum. I have looked into this and generally all should be simple enough (and duty-free), but if it is an engine, then potentially the US EPA gets involved.

As for importing parts into Canada, if the parts are specifically for a car that is 25 or more years old, then those parts are Duty-Free. Tax and brokerage fees (as dependant on method of delivery) are applicable. Typically the Canadian taxes on import would be either the GST at 5%, or HST at around 13%, but this is dependant on destination as different rates apply to different provinces.

I hope this helps. Feel free to PM me if you have more specifics.

Kelly, you bring up a good point that I was about to.
Although you may not get charged duty, companies like UPS charge a MINIMUM of $40 brokerage fee. This is an absolute killer with small deliveries. The UPS delivery guy told me he had items shipped by USPS and not his own employer because it was so bad.
These crooks don't tell the US sender that their recipient will be charged the fee. They just bill the recipient when it arrives or even later, by mail.
Send your parts by USPS and be done with it. Rarely any fees. Ive had a fee a few times but very small ( no rhyme or reason).
I agree totally with 4NHOTROD about the courier brokerage fee ripoff. I had many occasions where the brokerage fee exceeded the value of the part that was being shipped. An additional problem with couriers is that they will often hold the shipment at the border until they can track you down to extract payment. They don't get around to calling for days, and if you happen to miss their call the shipment will sit there until you start wondering where it is and call them to track it. I have had shipments delayed at the border for over two weeks because of this.

In the end, USPS is less expensive, you avoid the obscenely high courier brokerage fees, and often you will get your part faster.

But there is a hitch (of course). Some of the vendors refuse to use USPS because they have to go to the post office instead of just having a courier pick it up at their shop. My solution to this has been to simply not use those vendors.

I have noticed an unsurprising correlation to more general attitudes to customer service; those vendors who will make the extra effort to ship USPS knowing it will save their customer a lot of money will also make extra effort in their other dealings with me.

If you have paperwork to show the part emanated from the US originally then the importation process will likely be easier.

We re-imported 2 cars a month ago and the carrier asked if I worked for the FBI or US government as it was the fastest crossing he'd had. We had all the original US export paperwork (admittedly it had only been 12 months) but it sure made for a a breeze on importation. And yes we are back in the USA, actively looking for my next challenge in life!

A note on shipping parts from the US to Canada for my Canadian friends, if at any time there are parts etc. that you require that a vendor/seller will not ship USPS, then ship it to me in Reno, NV and I will happily combine shipments if required and forward. This may incur a small penalty for shipping twice, but likely better than the UPS cross border fees.

Originally posted by Peter H:
I agree totally with 4NHOTROD about the courier brokerage fee ripoff. I had many occasions where the brokerage fee exceeded the value of the part that was being shipped. An additional problem with couriers is that they will often hold the shipment at the border until they can track you down to extract payment. They don't get around to calling for days, and if you happen to miss their call the shipment will sit there until you start wondering where it is and call them to track it. I have had shipments delayed at the border for over two weeks because of this.

In the end, USPS is less expensive, you avoid the obscenely high courier brokerage fees, and often you will get your part faster.

But there is a hitch (of course). Some of the vendors refuse to use USPS because they have to go to the post office instead of just having a courier pick it up at their shop. My solution to this has been to simply not use those vendors.

I have noticed an unsurprising correlation to more general attitudes to customer service; those vendors who will make the extra effort to ship USPS knowing it will save their customer a lot of money will also make extra effort in their other dealings with me.

Well said. Quella goes out of his way to send his parts through USPS to save us Canadians money.
It’s either repressed memory or I’m just suffering from brain fade. It’s been a long time since, but over the years I bought/imported some items from Canada and I don’t recall doing much except paying which was the most difficult part of the transaction due to currency exchange and international wire transactions. SWIFT code and account number and paying a fixed fee usually solved that. When I initially was looking for information to refresh my memory the list below is what I found. I don’t believe the last four are applicable.

In this particular instance, when I contacted the seller he indicated that because the item was greater than 25 years old and originated in the US there would not be duty. However, though this is true, when I asked if he would complete the NAFTA certificate of origin to accompany the shipment I received no reply. Perhaps that’s because it’s customary that all import actions to be the responsibility of purchaser not seller which I surmised was Mark’s point about this part of the question belonging in another forum so maybe I do need to ask a Yank. Even so, within reason I would do my best to have a smooth transaction for the buyer if I were on the other end and completing a couple certs would certainly fall within that. I didn’t go forward with the transaction but it left me with the impression he would send it on its way Canada post and the rest was up to me. Even though the seller could complete the NAFTA cert if you really needed proof it was >25 years old and of US origin that would be difficult……no original invoices are available for 50 year old car parts nor do most contain made in USA identification.

When I have shipped expensive items to Australia via UPS the only thing I have ever done is include a commercial invoice and never had a problem. On the other end, customers had pay applicable tax and duty but the commercial invoice seemed to be all they needed.

Anyway, there seems to be a lot of variability in what you might encounter with the Canada-US transactions which seems unfortunate to me but I didn’t think a $4k purchase was the right time to learn/re-learn the process but the exchange rate is favorable these days. What I don’t understand is why this condition exists for US-Canada trade/import yet in several instances when I have bought something off of eBay that ships from China with free shipping in one of the so-called “e-packets”, it just miraculously shows up 2-3 weeks later with no additional documentation or fees required.

    Commercial invoice
    Also known as a business invoice, this must exactly represent the content and value of your shipment. If you just happen to toss in a few promotional items at the last moment and they are not on the invoice, the customs inspector may hold your shipment at the border until you clarify what is going on. Also, never declare goods, such as promotional items or samples, as being of "No commercial value." U.S. customs officials may decide to impose a value of their own or may even refuse entry of the goods.
    Yet one more invoice tip: When using part numbers, provide a written description that will help classify the goods for customs purposes. And be sure that each invoice also shows the total amount charged to the buyer for the shipment; never use the net value.

    NAFTA Certificate of Origin
    This was discussed in Section 4.1, "The North American Free Trade Agreement."

    Importer ID Number
    Also known as the Customs Assigned Number, this is used by U.S. Customs to establish bond coverage, release and entry of merchandise, liquidation, the issuing of bills and refunds, and drawback processing. Your customs broker can help you obtain the number or you can get it yourself by submitting Form 5106 to U.S. Customs, available at

    Bill of lading or airway bill
    Your freight forwarder, carrier or broker is responsible for filling it out. A bill of lading is not needed for mail shipments.

    Entry manifest
    The carrier is responsible for filling this out. Again, this is not needed for mail shipments.

    Entry/immediate delivery
    This is used for time-sensitive shipments, such as fresh produce, and replaces the entry manifest. The carrier is responsible for submitting this to U.S. Customs before the shipment arrives at the port of entry.

    Harmonized System Tariff Classification (HS code)

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.